Living in Hollywood is not all Film 24/7. The music industry has it's major hub here as well. As great an asset as this usually proves to be, lately it seems all the best music is from over the pond. My favorite pop releases of this year have both been from young, white and British females. Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse both have what it takes to save pop music from the panty-less partying Americans have turned it into.
Lily Allen's Alright Still definitely needs to be heard as it is likely to change the course of pop. Allen seems to be the female take on the UK's The Streets, and everybody knows girls are better at everything. With ska, jazz, and hip-hop combined, Allen's music is a collaboration of the best things to happen to the industry in the past century. "Everything's Just Wonderful" is the most danceable track with a contemporary edge and Lily's light, jazzy vocals. "Shame For You" acid-sounding synths give it a jazzy feel and sounds like a producer's first draft for Amy Winehouse's "Rehab". Alright Still takes amazing retro elements and turns them into a fresh take on hip hop, grime and pop music.
Not to be outdone by a fellow countrywoman, Amy Winehouse's Back to Black (out Stateside Tuesday, March 13th), evokes the same sound and retro vibes as Allen. Perhaps having the same producer as Allen helps, but Winehouse's vocals easily soar above hers. The whole album is a trip back in time through the 50's ("Me Mr. Jones"), the 60's ("Tears Dry On Their Own") and contemporary sounds ("Rehab"). The gays will love her versatility as Winehouse's soulful voice easily transcends soul, evolving the genre to a whole new level of appreciation. Back To Black should also do well with listeners in tune with urban music as it easily takes on great soulful and jazzy hip-hop. Once again, it is up to the UK to save pop music.
This week is a great week for pop culture!